Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rugby Academy of New York Launches to Develop Elite Players & Coaches

Press Release courtesy of Bret Costain, Rugby Academy of New York

Rugby Academy of New York Launches to
Develop Elite Players & Coaches

Partnership with HSBC Waratahs and Village Lions (NYC) brings International Rugby Luminaries Eddie Jones, Scott Bowen and professional players to US for Player and Coach Development

New York, NY – February 9, 2011 - The HSBC Waratahs and the Village Lions Rugby Football Club announce the establishment of the Rugby Academy of New York, an elite rugby academy, to be based in the New York Tri-State area and serving to improve the skills, knowledge and welfare of US-based rugby players, coaches, administrators, and referees.

World Cup winning coach Eddie Jones and HSBC Waratahs coaches, along with a number of professional players, will feature in the Academy’s program in its inaugural year. Player and coach programs for Men and Women will begin in August 2011.

Expo Mejia, Village Lions Head Coach and Director of Rugby at the Academy certainly knows a few things about high performance rugby. As the former Coach Education Coordinator for the HSBC Waratahs, he points out that the Academy will utilize the very same program developed in Sydney which over the years has consistently produced great Wallabies.

“The Waratahs are an iconic global rugby brand and they have been impressed by the quality, the attitudes and the potential for growth here in the US” said Mejia. “They are not only after the next Todd Clever for Super15 Rugby but they are also genuinely interested in developing players, coaches and match officials to a level they never even thought possible.”

“There’s been rapid growth for the sport of rugby in recent years and that will explode with increased national exposure as we move toward the game’s return to the Olympic Games in 2016,” offered Bret Costain, President of the Village Lions Rugby Club and General Manager for the Rugby Academy of New York. “As a country we have made modest growth in the 35 years since our first modern international match in 1976 against Australia. Whereas the national team has often recruited players trained overseas, we aim to fill a void by bringing the overseas training to our shores and develop the best young American talent using their proven system and coaches.”

The Academy will take a revolutionary approach to high performance rugby as never seen before in the US. It will prepare and develop players to compete to an elite standard. A player selected for Academy entry will be directed into a personal development program geared primarily to ensuring that the athlete’s abilities as a rugby player are maximized.  Academy programs will involve core rugby skills, unit skills,   strength and conditioning, sports medicine, physiology, psychology and nutrition.  The athlete will be supported by Academy staff, specialist coaches, sports scientists and other specialists appointed by the Academy Manager. The Academy teams will compete against local and international teams and the best players will have a unique opportunity to travel to Australia and to train with the HSBC Waratahs.

The Academy will work closely with clubs and schools in a talent-search to bring up to 160 male and female players to the initial Rugby Camps in 2011.  From the Rugby Camps, the Academy will select up to 44 elite players to participate Elite Development Program. 

The Academy pathway for a player can start at the age of 16 when players are first identified through the application process.

Rugby Academy of New York staff will include:

·         Eddie Jones, former Wallabies Coach and World Cup Winner with South Africa
·         Scott Bowen, former Wallaby and HSBC Waratahs Assistant Coach
·         Peter McDonald, HSBC Waratahs Physical Performance Manager
·         HSBC Waratahs Professional Players (dependent on World Cup Selection)

Additionally, representatives from the New York-based Hospital for Special Surgery comprise the Rugby Academy of New York-Research Group, which is focused on studying injury and training patterns with the goal of improving the health and safety of all the athletes through evidence-based medicine. This allows for the development of appropriate injury prevention strategies. 

To apply or for more information on the Rugby Academy of New York, please visit:

About HSBC Waratahs
The HSBC Waratahs is one of the oldest and biggest provincial unions in the world. Currently playing in the Super15 Rugby competition, they have been the best performing Australian team for a number of years. Of the current squad, over 50% have international rugby experience. The HSBC Waratahs play at the Sydney Football Stadium and utilize the game’s most modern and comprehensive training facilities . Former legends include Matthew Burke, Nick Farr Jones, Simon Poideven and other Wallaby greats. The current captain is Phil Waugh and the head coach, Chris Hickey. For more information, please visit:

About Hospital for Special Surgery
Founded in 1863, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is a world leader in orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation. HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics, No. 3 in rheumatology, No. 16 in neurology and No. 18 in geriatrics by U.S. News & World Report (2010), and has received Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. From 2007 to 2010, HSS has been a recipient of the HealthGrades Joint Replacement Excellence Award. A member of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System and an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS provides orthopedic and rheumatologic patient care at New York-Presbyterian Hospital at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center. All Hospital for Special Surgery medical staff are on the faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College. The hospital's research division is internationally recognized as a leader in the investigation of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Hospital for Special Surgery is located in New York City and online at

About Village Lions RFC
Founded in 1989, the Village Lions are a competitive rugby club based in New York City, fielding men’s, women’s and veteran’s sides. Men’s senior sides have won championships in the Metropolitan New York Rugby Football Union and are current the Division II champions for the Northeast Rugby Union. Women’s sides have won the Division II National Championships. Both the Men’s and Women’s team will compete in Division 1 in the Fall of 2011. The Village Lions host the annual Four Leafs Rugby Tournament each March and the Hell Gate 7s each July, both featuring teams from around the globe. Players from 43 countries have taken the field for the club and Lions have represented national teams from the US, Philippines, Luxembourg and Samoa.  The club is a leader in the administration of rugby competitions in the Tri-State New York area and is committed to the growth and development of the sport.  For more information, please visit:


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